Decor, Interior Design Ideas, Living Room Ideas

How to Decorate a Family Room vs Formal Living Room

While the purpose of a kitchen, bathroom or dining room is evident, there seem to be questions around the function of a formal living room versus the family room. With the shortening of the name to just ‘living room’ and people interchanging the name with ‘family room,’ we can see why there is some misunderstanding about these two spaces. However, with our stylish interior design ideas and furniture selection, you can create two distinct areas with a specific purpose – one for the family to relax and the other to entertain guests. 

The Difference Between a Family Room and a Formal Living Room

Function plays a significant role in distinguishing between formal and informal living rooms. The casual feel of the family room makes it perfect for sprawling, relaxing and being together. This space is where you kick back, put your feet up, watch a movie or play video games while the kids spread their toys on the floor. It’s an informal room that can have numerous purposes and is filled with comfortable, durable and low-maintenance furniture. You may hear people refer to this space as a bonus or media room, and it is often set away from the heart of the home, sometimes upstairs or down in the basement. 

The formal living room is where you can entertain guests without a TV in sight. It often has a moodier vibe and is located at the front of the house, usually near the kitchen or dining room, where it can be seen. It is the ideal zone for cocktail parties, adult conversation over drinks, or hosting holiday gatherings. As far as furniture and aesthetics go, this space is where you showcase expensive art, family heirlooms, antiques and light-colored couches.

How to Decorate a Family Room

Start decorating your family room with big furniture pieces such as your sofa and media center. The couch is the foundation of your room layout and will determine where you place everything else. You can also use the sofa colors for selecting complementing and similar toned furniture and decor. As you may use the space for various purposes such as watching movies and as a kid’s playroom, be sure to select multi-functional furniture. You can get an ottoman with storage, a coffee table with drawers and a media center that you can close off when not in use. 

family room

Invest in durable furniture pieces that are kid-friendly. For example, select an oversized and comfy couch, such as a sectional for plenty of seating, with easy-to-clean fabric and reversible cushions for even wear. Darker colors are ideal for family rooms as they are less likely to show stains. Once your couch is situated, balance your space with one or two side chairs. 

The family room should be a cozy space where everyone can relax, so include modern comforts such as pillows, throws and lighting. Accent pillows and throws are the perfect way to incorporate color into your room and make it more inviting, while a floor lamp can provide soft lighting for when you’re watching a movie. If your home has an open floor plan, you can break up the space into zones with a soft rug and sofa table. You can further personalize your room with fun and memorable family photos strategically placed on the walls or display them on your end table

How to Decorate a Formal Living Room

How to decorate a formal living room will depend on your interior style and the size of your space. However, as the room tends to be used for adult company, this zone creates the perfect opportunity for more elegant and sophisticated decor compared to the rest of your home. When selecting furniture such as your chairs or sofa, you can take a risk by choosing more formal pieces that ooze style rather than going for low maintenance, comfortable options. We recommend offering your guests a selection of seating options and keeping the style more upright, making it easier to sit down and get up. 

As formal living rooms shouldn’t include a TV, you need to consider what you’ll have as a focal point. A stylish and functional coffee table can act as a centerpiece in the room or, if you have a fireplace, you can position your seating around this timeless feature. Bookshelves with heirlooms and treasured artwork can also make a stunning focal point. 

formal room

Your living space should also display symmetry. You want the feel to be more structured than your family room, and you can achieve this by having your couches placed across from each other or on either side of the focal point. This setup is ideal for fostering conversations in the room. 

Find Family and Living Room Furniture at Home Zone Furniture

While our design guide can give you ideas for how to decorate a small living room and family room so you have two distinct spaces, how you live in your house will ultimately determine your style and layout. You can find an assortment of stylish and durable furniture to suit your vision at your local Home Zone store or browse online. We have an extensive range of couches, accent chairs, media centers, coffee tables, decor and more. Our friendly and knowledgeable team can also assist in selecting the most suitable pieces to match your theme. 

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